Day 11. SF. Naomi Osaka

Andy Taylor Narrator 2018 US Open 049 Naomi Osaka Semifinal

Narrator Andy Taylor | The Voice of the US Open | Photo: USTA / Andrew Ong

[20] Naomi Osaka -19- (JPN) def [14] Madison Keys -14- (USA) | 62 64

For the first time, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka will compete for a Grand Slam Singles title. On Saturday, she will face her idol in the championship match.

“I really want to play Serena.” Why? “Because she’s Serena!”

6-time champion Serena Williams won her first Major Singles title here in Flushing when Naomi was just 2-years-old (1999 | 2002 | 2008 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014). Since returning from maternity leave, the 23-time Grand Slam Champion is 15-1 — and has advanced to her 9th US Open Final after dropping only a single set over the past 11-days.

Naomi’s US Open path has been nearly identical – so dominant in fact, Naomi defeated her 3rd-Round opponent 60 60. With confidence at an all-time high, it will be interesting to see how she reacts to a center court clash with the pressure of a Major on the line – facing arguably the most dominant talent ever to clutch a racquet.

“Mom. I did it. I love you. Thank you!”

All of that said, you have to feel for Madison Keys — who, after the loss, rushed off the court before I could even announce her name. A Finalist here last year, Madison executed her go-for-broke game plan brilliantly. While it was effective in the last two rounds against Dominka Cibulkova and Carla Suarez Navarro, Osaka was able to absorb the pounding barrage and convert the few break chances she received.

Look at the numbers. Madison did everything right. Osaka was simply brilliant at protecting serve.

Winners: Keys 23 | Osaka 12
Unforced errors: Keys 32 | Osaka 20 (No worries, part of Madison’s formula)
Double faults: Keys 0 | Osaka 1
Service breaks: Keys 0-13 | Osaka 3-4. Game. Set. Match.

Andy Taylor Narrator 2018 US Open 049 Naomi Osaka Semifinal Match Recap

NEXT: [20] Naomi Osaka -19- (JPN) vs [17] Serena Williams -26- (USA)

[20] Naomi Osaka -19- (JPN)

Last year, she earned the first top-10 win of her career right here in Arthur Ashe Stadium, defeating defending champion Angelique Kerber in the 1st-Round. Yesterday, she won her first Major Quarterfinal in straight-sets, losing only 2-games – and tonight, is making her Grand Slam Semifinal debut. Earlier this year, she captured her maiden WTA Singles title at Indian Wells defeating World #5 Karolina Pliskova, then World #1 Simona Halep to reach the championship match. She started 2018 with her first Grand Slam run to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, and by July climed to a career-high ranking of World #17. Competing in her 3rd US Open – from Japan, please welcome…Naomi Osaka.

2018 US Open Road to the Final:

SF: def [14] Madison Keys -14- (USA) 62 64 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
QF: def Lesia Tsurenko -36- (UKR) 61 61 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R4: def [26] Aryna Sabalenka -20- (BLR) 63 26 64  | Louis Armstrong Stadium
R3: def Aliaksandra Sasnovich -33- (BLR) 60 60 | Grandstand
R2: def Julia Glushko -162- (ISR) 62 60 | Court 17
R1: def Laura Siegemund -188- (GER) 63 62 | Grandstand

[14] Madison Keys -14- (USA)

Last year, she became a Grand Slam Finalist for the first time right here in Arthur Ashe Stadium, upsetting World #4 Elina Svitolina en-route to the Championship match. Tonight – she is competing in her 4th Grand Slam Semifinal; her second THIS year alone! Back in May, she made a run to the Semifinals at Roland Garros, reaching the Final-4 without dropping a set. A proud member of Team USA, she reached the Bronze Medal Match in Rio; and earlier this year, earned the deciding-victory over France, lifting her teammates back into the Fed Cup Final. Ranked as high as World #7, she owns 3 WTA Singles titles, and is a 7-time Finalist on Tour. From Rock Island, Illinois – Please welcome…Madison Keys.

2018 US Open Road to the Semifinals:

QF: def [30] Carla Suarez Navarro -24- (ESP) 64 63 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R4: def [29] Dominika Cibulkova -35- (SVK) 61 63 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R3: def Aleksandra Krunic -49- (SRB) 46 61 62 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R2: def Bernarda Pera -92- (USA) 64 61 | Louis Armstrong Stadium
R1: def Pauline Parmentier -71- (FRA) 64 64 | Arthur Ashe Stadium